Power Consumption, Cooling and Overclocking
The Core 2 Duo E7200 processor is ripe for overclocking, as it runs at a lower-than-standard front side bus speed for the processor lineup, has very low power consumption by default, and has a low core voltage level. It’s also manufactured on the same 45nm process technology which Intel is using to produce their 3.0 GHz+ Core 2 Duo/Quad core models and sells for upwards of 10x the price of the humble E7200.
For testing, we used the massive Coolermaster Gemini II cooling system with low-speed cooling fans. With this cooler, our Core 2 Duo E7200 chip idled at around 91ºF, just a about 15ºF over room temperature. Under heavy loads (at stock speeds) the chip would hit thermals of about 110ºF, which is very good considering the performance possible from this CPU. For overclocking, we cranked the vCore up to 1.4V, which increased the chip’s heat output levels and pushed peaked temperatures up to about 135ºF under heavy load.
The end result of our overclocking efforts was a Core 2 Duo E7200 chip running at stable levels at 3.5 GHz clock speed. That’s a 38% overclock with a simple boost to the vCore levels and upping the front side bus speed – what we would consider to be very easy work. Our E7200 chip was actually able to hit 3.8 GHz at its peak, but was not as stable we demand from our overclocks. At 3.5 GHz, we were able to run through all of our tests without issue and pass all of our stress tests. This is a higher overclock than we were able to obtain with the Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor, which is basically the E7200 x 2, showcases that a simple, less complex design can allow for higher peak clock speeds.
Core 2 Duo E7200 - Stock Speeds
Core 2 Duo E7200 - 3.5 GHz O/C
Power consumption is rather impressive with the Core 2 Duo E7200, as shown by our charts below. As always, tests are done with a hardware A/C wattage meter testing the full system power consumption (not just the processor). The platforms are identical across the board, only changing out the processors (and motherboards for AMD platforms). Testbed details can be seen on the following page.
As expected, the Core 2 Duo E7200 consumes less power compared to other members of the Wolfdale family, as it has a lower clock speed and a lower vCore level. At stock speeds, our testbed platform idled at 146W and peaked at 159W, which are very tolerable levels. When overclocking, our system peaked out at 205W, which is pretty impressive for a 3.5 GHz dual-core system with an 8800 GT graphics card, 4 GB of memory, and a 10,000 RPM hard disk. The low power consumption and support for SSE4 extensions means that this chip will likely be popular with the home theater PC (HTPC) crowd.